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help desk

help desk A location where queries by phone, email, fax, personal callers, etc., are dealt with by people, usually assisted by computer software. Large commercial help desks operate almost entirely by phone, while smaller help desks internal to organizations may have predominantly personal callers. There are a number of models of help desk: unskilled, where all queries are passed on, skilled, where up to 90% of the queries are answered at the desk, and expert, where all queries are expected to be answered at the desk. Which model is used depends on how broad or specialized are the topics covered by the desk, and what staff are available.

Help-desk software is used to keep track of help-desk queries. The software will allow the details of the problem to be entered, and its progress to be monitored as it is passed from the desk to one or more specialists. It will also help to ensure that all problems are eventually answered, and that the details of the solution are stored to assist in the solution of future problems.

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